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Renault planning complete overhaul of F1 car for 2018

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Renault Formula 1 technical chief Nick Chester is pleased with how plans for the team’s 2018 car are coming along, promising a “completely new” design despite the stability in the technical regulations heading into next season.

Renault has progressed up the F1 field since returning to the sport with a works team in 2016, and currently sits eighth in the constructors’ championship with two races remaining this season.

The team has arguably boasted the strongest development of its car through 2017, and although this may lay good groundwork for next season, Chester revealed plans are in the works for an overhaul of the current car despite the lack of changes between the regulations for next year.

“We’re making strong progress at Enstone and [2018 is] where our focus lies. It’s a completely new car despite a relatively low number of regulation changes,” Chester said.

“We’ve learnt a lot on the aerodynamic package and the balance of a car built to 2017 regulations, so the car should represent a strong step forward.

“We’ll be doing some aero runs in practice in Brazil with a variety of aero instrumentation to help prepare the 2018 package.”

Renault will be represented on the grid by Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. in 2018, with the latter joining the team four races early after a deal was brokered to usher out Jolyon Palmer after a tough season.

Sainz finished seventh on debut for Renault, and has already made a positive impact on the team in Chester’s eyes.

“Carlos has been very good. He had a fantastic race in Austin, he works with the team brilliantly, qualifies well and I think he’s done a great job so far,” Chester said.

“Mexico was tricky with low grip, particularly in the wake of other cars, which led to the spin in the race.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).